The new drug derived from cannabis has been found effective at reducing the severity and frequency at which epileptic seizures occur in children.
Conducted by Orrin Devinsky MD, the director of New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, the experimental drug containing cannabis extracts was administered to 213 patients suffering from severe to moderate epilepsy, with the researchers focusing on Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome among other forms of severe epilepsy. No control group or placebo was administered during the experiment with participants.
After 12 weeks of using the experimental drugs, about 54% of the participants reported a significant reduction in their epileptic seizures and the frequency or severity with which they happened. Hitherto sufferers of the Lennox Gastaut syndrome reported a 55% reduction in their seizure rates, and those suffering from Dravet syndrome reported 53% fewer seizures than they had previously experienced before the trial.
However, nearly 6% of the participants withdrew from the study because they suffered side-effects and 10% also reported they suffered unpleasant side-effects even though they remained to the end of the trial.
“So far there have been few formal studies on this marijuana extract,” the team reported. “These results are of great interest, especially for the children and their parents who have been searching for an answer for these debilitating seizures.”
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